label-your-circuit-panelYou know those small tips and tricks that turn the way you maintain your home on its head? The home hacks that shatter your brain with their brilliance and forever change the way you relate to that little piece of plastic that holds the bread bag closed, or the space underneath your staircase?

Those tips are worth their proverbial weight in gold, and so are these. Make your electrical system and wiring easier to navigate with the following tips, from our team to you:

Make Bulbs Last Longer

Light bulbs can burn out for a variety of reasons. So how can you prolong their life and avoid changing them out every few months?

The first reason for bulb burnout is that the wattage in the bulb is too high for the fixture you are using. Check the fixture – often, the recommended wattage is written somewhere on it – and purchase bulbs suited for the one you are using.

Burnout is another reason for bulbs gone bad. If a bulb is not making contact within the socket, electrical arcing can occur. You don’t want this to happen, as arcing can cause power surges within the bulb, shortening its lifespan. Because most bulbs last about 2000 hours, using a regular bulb for eight hours a day will provide a lifespan of about eight months. If you use your bulb less and screw it in properly to ensure connection with the socket, it can last much longer.

Purchasing note: When buying light bulbs, look for bulbs rated for 130 volts. Due to utility fluctuations, (see below), power can spike up to 120 volts, which can end the life of lower-rated bulbs. At 130 volts, most bulbs can weather these inevitable power changes, and your high voltage lamps will last longer.

Fluctuations in Power

Local construction, loose wires, and other issues can cause fluctuations in the power available to you in your home. If you are prone to losing power in one room or part of your home, the issue may be loose wires. Our experts at Prairie can help you fix this common problem quickly and efficiently.

If your lights dim when you run the dishwasher, oven, or any other major appliance, it is likely that your service is too low for your property and should be increased to meet the capacity your home requires. People who live in homes built prior to 1980 commonly encounter this issue, as older homes were not built to accommodate the electrical loads we now depend on to run our electronics and large appliances. In either case, contact Prairie Electric for assistance.

If You Label Anything, Label Your Circuit Panel

A well-labeled circuit breaker makes checking your fuses quick and simple. If there is an issue with your circuit panel, taking the time to find a flashlight and complete the following can be frustrating and agonizing. Better to do it now, label the panels, and know that, in future, you will be able to locate each fuse when you need to.

The best way to label your circuit panel is to first gather a flashlight, multimeter, and a drop light with long cord.

Turn on every light in your home. Plug the drop light into an outlet in one of the rooms and adjust it so you can see it whole working on the panel.

Next, turn off each of the breakers until the light goes out. Once you find it, visit the room where you plugged in the light and see what other lights went out when you turned off that breaker. Use your multimeter to test empty outlets to see if you have power (or plug the bulb cord into each, if you don’t have a multimeter). Most of the following items will run off of dedicated circuits, which allow for heavy-duty appliances to run without overloading your system:

  • Cooking range
  • Furnace
  • A/C system
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Kitchen counter outlets

Continue to test each room using the bulb and cord, and use small labels to mark down the rooms next to the breaker associated with each. Done and done!

Maintaining your home’s electrical system often involves working with parts of the home that are not immediately visible and/or which require an understanding of electrical power flow to troubleshoot. If you require more assistance than the above tips can provide, Prairie Electric is always here to help!